Are Liverpool Too Big A Club For Mario? He Needs To Be A Mentor

Could he benefit from going the way of Antonio Cassano?
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Could he benefit from going the way of Antonio Cassano?

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Are Liverpool Too Big A Club For Mario? He Needs To Be A Mentor

Matt Barker is a freelance journalist who writes regularly (though not exclusively) about Italian football, for a number of titles including Four Four Two, the Observer, GQ, Esquire, When Saturday Comes and the occasional Italian mag. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Here he weighs into a not-so-Super Mario...

There’s this notion that really all Balotelli needs is to be loved, that Brendan Rodgers simply has to work a bit of his man-management magic on the moping Italian and it’s suddenly all smiles again. Maybe, maybe not.

Last year, as part of a Milan attack trio, Mario lined up alongside two younger players, at a club in turmoil, in front of an increasingly miffed fan base. Given new responsibilities, mentoring his co-strikers, Balotelli enjoyed some of the best football we’ve seen from him so far.

It fed through to his performances for the Azzurri, too. You get the impression sometimes that he much prefers assists, creating chances, to scoring goals. It’s that feeling of importance, of being the provider, that really matters to Mario. All of which begs a question. Should he follow the example of his fellow wayward genius (and sometime Italy team-mate) Antonio Cassano and play for smaller teams, where he can be the main man, even - dare I say it - the wise old head?

I could certainly see him in a Crystal Palace shirt…

LIVERPOOL FANS: what do you think will happen with Mario? Will he come good? Do you agree that he just needs a man to play off or is he only fit to be a big fish in a reasonably small pond? Answers in the comments, please.

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